A few years ago I was catching up over the phone with an old friend of mine—Sergiu "Corbu" Boldor—when he told me about this new musical project he had started with some friends. After hearing his story and the passion with which he was telling it, I decided to take on the challenge of creating a graphic identity for what was going to become Ad Hoc, a one-of-a-kind Transylvanian acoustic medieval punk band.

Logo

Some months after that phone call, we were sitting in a pub in Brașov, Romania together with his band mate—Dan “Ursu” Olar—waiting for a Celelalte Cuvinte concert to start across the street. I showed them a first draft of the logo and from that moment on we embarked on a very interesting and adventurous journey together.

Drawing inspiration from the way in which band was formed—hence their name—I wanted to come up with a genuine and strong identity in which all pieces fit together perfectly to form the whole, just as each band member does the same. After a bit of exploring this lead me to the most perfect of all shapes, the circle.

Initial concept
Initial concept: An idea worth playing with and improving
Heavy weight
Heavy weight: Wider strokes give it a more solid feel

The way in which all the letters come together in a circle is a good depiction of how things can simply fall into place if you have the right people, allowing for something great to unfold. Despite having found the idea with which to continue, it was only until I had the second sketch on paper did I realize that the upper part shared similarities with the deviantART logo, looking a bit like a flipped version of it.

Sketches
Sketches: Iterating from first concept to final polished design

After a few iterations I ended up making the strokes wider to give it a more solid feel and I also reduced the size of the four double arches, turning them into more of a floral decoration of sorts. At a later stage, moving on to digital allowed me to refine the geometry behind it until I finally achieved the close-knit design that I was looking for.

Geometric anatomy
Geometric anatomy: A multitude of overlapping circles playing nicely together

Despite having a very punk attitude, the band has strong roots in medieval culture and the logo had to respect that. The top and bottom arrows are meant to resemble crests worn by common folk in Romanian medieval times, but they also double as the tips of a compass needle, shifting direction whenever the band’s journey takes them on new adventures.

Final design
Final design: An insignia fit for a medieval acoustic folk-punk band

As the band progressed in their career, they remained true to their roots and so did their logo, just that in more and more mediums. From paper, wood, and fabric, to leather, linen stitching and even skin! That’s right, I had the honour of having Sergiu tattoo the logo on his forearm, upside down so that it’s properly visible while he’s madly playing his violin.

Wooden pendant
Wooden pendant: Laser engraved souvenir from the band
Tattoo
Tattoo: Honoured to see my design inked on Sergiu's forearm

Concert posters

During my collaboration with Ad Hoc I designed several concert posters for them, the first of which being done even before I had made their logo. As time moved on, their career progressed and the live gigs grew in number. From street music to well orchestrated and complex stage performances, the band grew in popularity and so did their need for printed material.

Concert posters
Concert posters: Some of the designs from the band's early years

The last poster I worked on was for their new country-wide tour entitled “Dezmăț, licori și muzici medievale” (translated to “Fornication, potions and medieval music”, which is basically their own version of “Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll”). They were going on tour to promote the album with the same name and the design had to stay consistent for all venues, while still remaining easy for them to edit themselves. I solved this by creating a heavily photo manipulated template poster with enough to impact regardless of the venue it would be used for.

Wallpaper

Marking the launch of that same debut album, I’ve also created a special edition wallpaper to celebrate the moment. The album was released  as a bonus disc with the 7’th edition of the Harap-Alb Continuă comic book—in Romania—and the band was already growing in popularity, so I figured a digital freebie would be a good treat for their newly gained fan base.

Wallpaper
Wallpaper: Custom made pack for a multitude of screen sizes

The design itself was an idea I wanted to play with for some time anyway and since I already had a collection of downloadable wallpapers hosted on my website, I decided to make this into one as well and have it downloaded from it’s very own page.

Wood carving

At some point during my collaboration with them, I came across some tree trunk sections which seemed ideal for wood carving. I had no previous experience with this nor did I have the tools for it, but as luck would have it I was able to borrow a Dremel tool from a friend of mine and got to try it out.

Outlines
Outlines: Defining the outer limits of each shape
Fillings
Fillings: Removing the wood within the outline

Now despite having gotten my hands on all of the materials and tools I needed, I still didn’t know what exactly to carve out of that wood piece, until at some point I was working on something Ad Hoc related and figured that their logo would look great carved in wood. After taking the proper measurements and transferring the logo to the wood, I carefully began carving out the outlines and then slowly removing all of the inner shape as well.

Sanded & cleaned
Sanded & cleaned: Ready for protective coats and polish
Glossy finish
Glossy finish: Varnish layers intersify the wood texture

An interesting side effect I hadn’t considered at all was that the Dremel bits were also burning the wood while they were carving it, which left a nicely darkened surface behind. With proper sanding and varnishing, the locust wood texture became even more intense and was ready to be hung on a wall.

Wood carving
Wood carving: One personalized gift for the band, before moving to Munich

Since the entire thing was started off as an experiment, I had no plan on keeping the carving for myself, but instead wanted to send it to the band as a surprise. This was in fact my going away gift to them, right before moving to Munich to start a new chapter in my life.

Bar sketch
Bar sketch: Sketched by me and signed by the band members at on of their shows

I’m proud of the long way they’ve come since we first talked about their project and I’m very happy to have played my part in their journey and will continue to do so, as much as time will let me. If you want to hear them out, you can always check out their YouTube channel or just visit their Facebook page.